Life of Moses
Preparing to Meet Her Divine Groom—
A Most Divine Wedding: Part II
7/13/3; ed. 6.14.15
Introduction…Been to a wedding lately? What was it like? Anything you really liked about it, or was it just a formal, seemingly uncomfortable religious ritual? I mean what is all that religious ritual all about in the first place? And why in a church so often? Why the dresses, suits, flowers, candles, decorations and formal music? Why does the bride wear an expensive white dress? Why do bridesmaids and a bride, often times escorted by her father, enter in to the sanctuary in such a formal manner?
by Shann Swift at Swiftshots; To see tons more beautiful wedding photographs like this one go to: http://www.swiftshots.com/weddings
Why IS this moment seemingly so often reverential?
And then there is often this kind of formal reception afterwards?
And sometimes people spend months planning all this, while in addition to spending lots and lots of dollars?
Why all this fuss over something that lasts maybe thirty minutes (that is without the reception)?
What is the big deal about weddings?
And just a thought…
What if we instead chose to invest a significant portion of the time, planning, consternation and money we put towards the actual wedding ceremony towards the actual buidling of a healthy, sustainable, long-term, loving marriage relationship and family?
Having rescued and protected his enslaved national bride from her tormenting Egyptian captor and taken her to his sacred mountain retreat in order to enter into a special covenant with her, what does any of this have to do with modern day weddings?
Teacher’s Note: This is kind of a repeat of last week. God takes extra special precaution to keep the people off the mountain as he is about to ratify a treaty with Abraham’s descendents. The good stuff comes next week as we prepare to look at the Ten Commandments.
This week the spiritual couple (God and Israel) are set to tie their knot.
Read Passage several times…(if more than 12 verses, I would read only twice).
15 Then he said to the people, “Prepare yourselves for the third day. Abstain from sexual relations.”
Why abstain from sexual relations? Something about purity? Concentration? Solemnity? What day is it now?
16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled.
Does the thunder and lightning have something to do with God? Who sounded the trumpet blast? An angel?
17 Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.
Sounds just like a wedding or a special ceremony?
18 Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently,
Like smoke stacks? Why fire and smoke? What does fire and smoke signify with respect to the divine?
19 and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.
Where is this trumpet coming from? Why louder? Are we getting closer and closer to the Divine? Is the Divine coming closer and closer to his bride?
20 The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up
21 and the LORD said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish.
Why would they perish? Would some be curious to see God? Were some jealous of Moses’ role as mediator?
22 Even the priests, who approach the LORD, must consecrate themselves, or the LORD will break out against them.”
How do we have priests before the actual ratification of a covenant which will prescribe not only who the priests will be, but their sacrificial roles? What does consecrate mean? Become clean? Holy? Spiritually pure? Ritually clean? What does break out mean? Like a virus or plague?
23 Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, `Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.'”
Is the mediator reminding the Groom of his previous commands? Why?
24 The LORD replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the LORD, or he will break out against them.”
Why is Aaron allowed, but no one else? Why is the term “forced” being used here? This kind of reminds me of a mob wanting to see what is going on—in this case, God. Now that would certainly tempt my curiostiy to push past the rope…
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.
Who? He (Moses), people, yourselves, everyone in the camp, God, LORD, priests, Aaron
Where? Over the mountain, in the camp, out of the camp, with God, at the foot of the mountain, Mount Sinai, on it, from it, to the top of the mountain, went up, go down, through, approach, come up Mount Sinai, around the mountain, with you, up to the Lord, went down to
When? Then he said, the third day, on the morning of the third day, then Moses, Then Moses
• Moses tells the people to prepare themselves for the third day—they are to abstain from sexual relations.
• On the third day, along with thunder and lightning, a cloud envelopes the mountain and a trumpet sounds.
• The people trembled.
• Moses leads the people to the foot of the mountain.
• The Lord descends upon the mountain with fire; it is covered with smoke like a furnace. The mountain trembles violently.
• The trumpet continues to grow louder.
• Moses speaks to God; and God answers back.
• God descends upon the mountain and invites Moses to come up.
• God tells Moses to warn the people not to come up to the mountain or they will otherwise perish.
• Even priests must consecrate themselves before approaching the Lord.
• Moses reminds the Lord that you have already told us to put limits around the holy mountain.
• Then God tells him to bring Aaron up, but not the rest of the people must not come up.
• So Moses goes down to tell the people this.
Summary… Via his servant-mediators, Moses and Aaron, the Divine Groom is about to ceremoniously enter into a covenant with his chosen and holy people-bride.
Why? (What truths do I learn about God, man, people, myself, life?)
• God desire us to prepare to meet him.
• God is alive, and certainly can choose to manifest his nearness through such real physical manifestations as smoke, clouds, fire and trumpet sounds.
• God chose to meet his people through a mediator and priest. For Israel this was Moses and Aaron. For us, it is our Lord and his Son, Jesus Christ, the mediator and priest of the New Covenant, as opposed to Moses and the priests who mediated the Old Covenant between God and his people, Israel.
• God’s holiness or perfect morality is certainly real, powerful and therefore, deadly, to anything less than perfect.
• In the end, we must all be clean to come into the presence of our Holy God, thus the need for our Spiritual-moral cleansing. For Israel, this was representanted in a ceremonial washing and abstaining from sexual relations. For us, there is certain purity of faith or trust in an infinite, holy Being. Once we have received his deliverance, cleansing and atonement from our sin and evil, we are given his Spirit, who continues to bath us from sin and evil on a practical, ongoing, daily and Spiritual basis. The Spirit does this in several ways, including both encouraging his children, in the midst of their trials, as well as convicting them when they are error. He also uses his inspired truth—the Scriptures, his community of saints, and prayer.
Mount Moses; photo by Mohammed Moussa (Mount Sinai; Wikipedia).
Thanksgiving…Spiritually, so many wonderful things seem to be going on right now. It’s an interesting Spiritual season to observe, enjoy and experience. Just something different about it. Not sure why or what, but with CRU there it is certainly an interesting mix, but it is far more than CRU. And this despite some regular and some not so regular attendee not attending. It seems, if only for the moment, the Spirit is quielty both pruning, as well as, stimulating the growth of Fellowship’s Spiritual vineyard.
Struggle… As always, it seems, trust and balance. Trust that he will provide for me…us…on so many levels, and at the same time, balance my time, thoughts, efforts, choices and ministries. Breathe, Joe. Breathe, and trust. Like the Shepherd, I will lead you, my sheep, for my name’s sake, through the forests of this world, past the wolves, in my well-known, but seldomed-traveled trails of righteousness. Trust me. Breathe. Rest. I will give you what you need, when you need it. Will you receive it or understand it or hear it perfectly? No. But I will be there. I will be there to pick you up even when you stumble and make mistakes. I will be there. I will be there.
Yes, Lord. Breathe. Yes, Lord.
Truth…That the Creator of the Universe is holy, sacred, clean, morally pure, perfect, lovely, kind, perfectly just and perfectly merciful, but always loyal; always there. And that he is there. And to enter into his presence or be reminded of his presence is something sacred, special, divine, holy and wonderful. Yes, he is there. Yes, he is always there, perhaps like the air, perhaps like the water, or the trees, or breath, or home or friends or family, but much more. Though air is special, He is more than air. He is God; he is real; he is divine and he loves ME! And more importantly, like a groom desires to be with his beloved, he wants to be with me. Never discount the presence of the Almighty! And holiness…truth. Tell the truth. Admit the truth…my weakness, but his strength, and allow my God, my holy Groom to bath me once again, making me holy to be in his presence, hear his words, feel his comfort, be open to his direction, inspiration and leading…
Application…think holy; think…Spiritual bath; think the presence of God and breathe. Take a deep breath. Exhale. Be. Rest. Be. Rest. Breathe. Rest. Be. My Divine, like Martha, I think I need to do so much on this planet. But is it all really that necessary? Spirit, lead me to that divine, sacred balance—trusting, resting in you, and then doing as needed or led. Trust first; do second. Be, first; be inspired and then do. Give me grace, wisdom and insight over these next 126 hours. Guide me as you would guide your angels, your hands, as you guided your Son, as you guide your Spirit, as you guide your tongue, your feet, your will. Guide me. Help me to be in the moment. Guide me.
Your student’s struggles?
Scripture quotations, unless noted otherwise, are taken from the Holy Bible: New International Version‚ NIV‚ Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. All rights reserved.